Top 10 MUST HAVE Books for Kids!

TOP 10 BOOKS FOR KIDS: Books, books, book! I LOVE BOOKS! I love reading and love reading to my kids. How many words a child knows helps determine how successful they will be. So talk to your kids…A LOT! A great way to expose them to more words is with BOOKS! These are my must-have books for children!

Books, books, book! I LOVE BOOKS! I love reading and love reading to my kids. How many words a child knows helps determine how successful they will be. So talk to your kids…A LOT! A great way to expose them to more words is with BOOKS! These are my must-have books for children!

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According to Michael Gramling who wrote “The Great Disconnect in Early Childhood Education“, the difference between people who live in poverty and people who live above the poverty level is their vocabulary. 

Top 10 MUST HAVE Books for Kids!

reading with kids,top ten books for kids, must have


I work with kids ages 2-5. I have so many favorite books from when I was a kid. So many books had an impact on me as a child. My favorite author was Beverly Cleary. I wrote to her once in third grade and she actually wrote back to me! It was a super short little note, but she was so kind to write it.

I love all the books. Books are fun…Books are great! There are so many books my kids and I love to read together, it was hard to narrow it down to just 10, but I did my best to give you my abbreviated must have books list.

Best children’s books for early childhood

Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown

This was my daughter’s favorite bedtime story when she was a tiny toddler. It was the last book in the stack we read to her every night. It’s soothing and sweet and my kids still love it today. I’ve always had a copy of it for my daycare kids.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear” by Bill Martin, Jr.

I love this book and I love to make rhymes to mimic it for the kids. This week we are studying polar animals so we are chanting polar bear, polar bear, what do you see and then we include all of the kid’s names in the chant. They love it! The pictures in the book are amazing as well.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” by Laura J. Numeroff

We love the whole series of what comes next books by… It’s so much fun to let the kids guess what the mouse might do next. “If you Give a Mouse a Cookie” is our favorite one, although “If you Give a Pig a Pancake” is a close second.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle

I freakin LOVE anything Eric Carle has done! He is my very favorite children’s author. I love the illustrations and how he makes them. I saw him make a book on Mr. Rogers about 15 years ago and I was enamored with the illustrations even more. I love “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and how it incorporates counting and vivid colors for the kids to explore.

Classic children’s books

Silly Sally” by Audry Wood

“Silly Sally” is a super fun book full of animals and characters that have a hilarious habit of some sort. Like when Silly Sally went to town sleeping backwards, upside down with a sheep. So much silliness! I love it!

Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Suess

I love Dr. Seuss and my daughter, who is now 23 was always a BIG fan of Dr. Seuss, so we read his books often. I really enjoy his silliness and rhyming and if you look closer, you’ll always see a deeper meaning in the story. “Green Eggs and Ham” teaches kids you don’t really know if you like something until you try it.

Llama, Llama, Red Pajama” by Anna Dewdney

“Llama, Llama, Red Pajama” is a fun rhyming book that teaches kids their Moms will never leave them. Young children so often has this fear that Momma is gone. They need to learn that someone will always take care of them, and this book does a great job at that!

1 Fish, 2 Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” by Dr. Seuss

This is another of Seuss’ wonderfully wonderful nonsensical way of teaching kids counting and colors, among other things. It’s one of my children’s favorites.

The Foot Book” by Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss has a clever way of showing there are many differences among people and they are all interesting and special. This book also helps kids learn left and right as it does it. My kids love it and my daughter did too.

I could quote the whole book word for word without even knowing what page we are on. In fact, I read it to the kids without ever looking which is nice because they can see the pictures well. It gives me more of a chance to let them explore what they want to learn from the book and to ask them questions about it.

Where the Sidewalk Ends” by Shel Silverstein

I am way into poetry. It gets me turnt up. This was my all-time favorite book as a child. I read it to my daughter all the time, and I even read it to my little kids on occasion. They prefer books with more colorful pictures, but they seem to dig poetry too.

I love to read the silly poems to them. When I was in the 5th grade and we had to do a poetry notebook for school, I remember including a poem from this collection. Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me Too.

I remember working so hard on the illustration, wanting it to be just perfect for this poem. In the 7th grade, we had to recite a poem from it from memory as we studied Mr. Silverstein in English class and I can still recite it word for word. I cannot go to school today, said little Peggy Ann McKay, I have the measles, and the mumps, a rash, a gash, and purple bumps…

Anyhoo, I love books and I can’t imagine how dark the world would be without them. When I was a child, I didn’t like to read a lot of books, but was naturally very proficient at it, testing at college level by 5th grade on our standardized tests.

I never got the fire for reading as a child, although I LOVED being read to by the teacher in the classroom. I still remember enjoying “Fudge” and “Superfudge” and the “Ramona” Books in 3rd grade story circle when Mrs. Nelson would read to us.

Once I discovered books again as an adult, I found that love that was inside of me. I watered and weeded it and exposed it to the sun and it grew into a voracious appetite for knowledge and reading.

Check out some of these amazing books and get your kid’s love for reading ignited as early as you can. Reading can take them wherever they want to go!

Click the links below to see what a few of my friends think are must-have books too! There are some great ones in here!

Top 10 Board Book for Kids

Every Toddler Needs These 10 Board Books

The 10 Books that Every Preschooler Should Have 


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Top 10 MUST HAVE Books for Kids!

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  1. Kayla says:

    Yes, I always loved books and you nurtured that love in so many ways. I still dig a good ol’ Dr. Suess book! And many of my favorites are on here. Great list!

  2. Lisette says:

    Perfect list! I always forget about 1 Fish, 2 Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish! I loved that as a kid! I haven’t read Silly Sally. We’ll have to check it out!

  3. Tracy Hinton says:

    Several of your favorites are some of my favorites too (even ones I didn’t list).

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